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isocade

The Sins of my Father

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isocade    90

The engine grumbles loudly moments before it's shut off. The passenger looks to the driver with a slightly concerned expression. The passenger then looks into the back seats. His eye moves up and down along the restrained male figure, examining his condition. He has clearly seen better days. The passenger then opens the door, stepping out. The driver steps out with him. They both meet eyes, the driver opening the door and assisting the scared and confused man out. On his head is a potato sack, tied at the base around the neck. Wrapped around his wrists is a single copper wire that's been twisted from a coat hanger into a crude set of cuffs. The man is wearing a set of boxers but nothing else. The passenger opens the boot of the vehicle, pulling out various clothes and a suitcase. He then brings them over to the, for lack of a better term, hostage. He sets the suitcase down, neatly folding the clothes on top of the suitcase. A set of gray sweatpants, a black quilted jacket, a set of clean socks, a set of fisherman boots, and an olive boonie hat. He looks the hostage up and down one more time, approaching his front.

"Across this channel is Skalisty Island. No one goes to it. You'll be safe there." The passenger says to the hostage, "Try not to get into any more trouble."

The passenger looks to the driver. The driver nods. The passenger removes a set of pliers from his pants pocket, undoing the twist in the crude copper restraint. As he does so, the driver removes the potato sack with careful, nimble hands. The man who is no longer a hostage meets his two eyes with the passenger's one eye. The passenger then gestures to the clothing set aside. The man then dresses himself properly, fitting the hat to his blonde head with a slow inhale. His eyes meet the passenger's eye again. They both smirk to one another. They know this will be the last time they will meet.

"Thank you. Sorry about the eye." The man says humbly.

"You're welcome. Sorry about the medical expense." The passenger replies promptly.

The man takes the suitcase, examining the contents briefly. A handgun with ammunition, various other clothes, canned food and bottled water. He shuts the suitcase, looking to the sandbar that lies before his travel to Skalisty Island. A small dingy lays idle on the land, begging to be thrust into the murky waters of South Zagoria's coastline. The man gives the boat what it wants, descending a grassy slope and shoving the buoyant vessel into the water. He paddles toward Skalisty.

The driver looks to the passenger. There is roughly three seconds of silence, the only sound heard is that of waves gently crashing into the land around them.

"This is where we part. We want different things, and I respect that." The driver says to the passenger, his glare unrelenting.

"I'm glad I feel the same way. Don't get into any trouble." The passenger replies.

"Doing this work, anything can be trouble." The driver finishes with, making his way to the vehicle.

"Pleasure doing business with you, Yefim." The passenger then says, receiving no response.

The engine grumbles back to life, the vehicle beginning to rattle off slowly through the wooded area. It thumps loudly onto a proper road and quickly builds up speed, driving to the west. The passenger is left alone to himself.

He takes in a deep breath of the salty sea air, letting the taste and aroma marinate on his tongue and in his nose. He closes his eye, then slowly opens it.

A dark ceiling is the first thing he sees. He sits up slowly, taking in the information he was just given. He then rises out of his bed, calmly making it afterwards. He makes his way to the kitchen, opening the cupboards and taking out a small butane gas stove and a cylindrical blue container for it. He turns it on, placing a frying pan on top of the burner. After doing so, he takes two eggs from unplugged refrigerator. It does not work, but it is useful for novelty storage. The eggs had been in there for a little less than a day. He cracks them open, plopping them into the pan and beginning to fry them. Shortly after consuming the eggs, he then begins to get dressed. He brushes his long hair back, not putting on a hat. He then puts on a white checkered long-sleeved shirt and a set of grey slacks, the kind someone wears to a job. He slips on leather shoes after slipping on a set of socks, then sitting down at his desk and looking over the various books he has. One book in particular is chosen, it has a blank cover. He opens it, skipping through various pages until he lands on a blank one. After staring at the blank page for a few seconds, he picks up one of many pens he has at the top of the desk, writing down the details of his dream. 

Half-way through his writing, he looks up and through the window, staring at an infected slowly shambling by in the distance.

"Every day." He quietly says with a shake of his head.

Every day is correct. This specific infected walks by every day at the same time. It's almost as if it has a schedule, a place to be. The fact that someone has yet to shoot it is simply amazing to him. He finishes his writing, closing the book and setting it aside along with the pen. He takes in the brisk and calm silence, but something seems off. The chickens outside have gone silent. As he turns his head, there is a sharp knock on the door. This does not happen. This is a new, unwelcome change. He stands quickly, staring at the door for a few seconds, considering all the options he has.

A deep breath overtakes him, he slowly approaches the door. The doorknob jiggles, he freezes. There is a single second of silence, dreaded silence. The door is knocked upon once more. He calms and continues his approach. A deadbolt is released, then another. A chain lock is released. The door is opened. A bald man stands on the other side, his face looking very weathered and his expression looking very tired, despite it being the glorious break of dawn. He is wearing a black tracksuit and a grey checkered flat cap, as well as a set of aviators. His strong facial features are unmistakable, it's Yefim.

"Mister Christian Serpentine?" Yefim asks, removing his aviators to examine the man a bit closer. His voice sounds lackluster, as if worn from the years just like his face.

"It's been two years." Christian replies, narrowing his one eye, "What do you need?"

Edited by isocade
Fixed formatting.

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isocade    90

The two men stare off awkwardly. Silence fills the air, resonating its stale aroma for the both of them to smell.

"Forget what I need, YOU need a haircut, my friend." Yefim breaks the silence with. His attempt at a joke falls flat.

"I said, what do you need?" Christian repeats himself, waiting patiently for the real answer.

Yefim takes in a deep breath, his lack of preparation clear by his visible nervousness.

"The trading camp at Pogorevka collapsed a few days ago. The market is open and fresh. We have no more competition and we need the experience." Yefim explains, "I'm sure they'll continue their operations in due time, but for now we need to jump on this opportunity."

"No."

"What do you mean "no"?"

"No, as in, I decline."

"You're going to turn your back on this? The kind of trade we once controlled?"

"I'm not interested, Yefim."

"What changed between then and now? Just because we have less product to grab doesn't mean we'll have any actual difficulty with it."

"It's not the same. We can't play neutral party in this kind of land. We can't help people like we used to."

"You don't know that. Those people gave our business a bad name, they shipped people. We shipped people too, and other things as well. We can help a lot of people, Christian."

"Have you had any success doing it here?"

"Out west, near Novigrad, plenty of success."

"I said here. Not Novigrad."

The two men fall silent once again. Christian's one eye glares at Yefim, as if he were insulted.

"No. Not here." Yefim answers, "That doesn't mean we can't succeed here."

"Have you already tried?" Christian inquires.

"... Yes. We have. KC abandoned the idea and went off on his own. Igor did the same. Everyone else was either taken by The Kingdom and terminated or went into hiding."

"KC, of all people? Usually he's so head-strong. Where did he and Igor run off to?"

"Igor ran off in the middle of the night, I have no idea where he might have gone. I've seen KC rolling with a bunch of other fellows, real survivor types. I got a few names. Connor Walsh. Nathan, and Charlie. No last names on either of them so far."

"Think he might try to bring them in or use them for the business?"

"No way in hell. He's looking to survive, not make a profit anymore."

Christian nods his head, letting various ideas marinate in his head. They sizzle away in the brainstorm.

"Keep an eye on KC. Make sure he doesn't get himself hurt." He then requests.

"Does that mean you're back in?" Yefim asks.

"Like I said, I'm not interested. Don't ask me again."

Yefim quietly sighs. He looks a bit deflated at the answer, having truly expected more from his old colleague. After a second of thought, he stirs up new discussion.

"So, Christian, what have you been up to these past two years?"

"I've been living a quiet life."

"Living a quiet life? Is that really what you've been doing?"

"Yes, Yefim. All I want to do is live a quiet life."

"I'm not so sure I believe you on that. What have you actually been doing?"

"I've been living a quiet life. Every day I feed the chickens, collect the eggs, have breakfast, write down my dreams, watch the horizon, go to work, come back home, and read. It's tranquil."

"... Go to work?"

"Yes, I go to work."

"What do you even do? There's no such thing as a job anymore, you know."

"I work at the market. It's peaceful, not many customers come through anymore."

"That's what you've been doing?"

"Yes."

"For two years? Working at an empty market for two years?"

"Yes, Yefim. That's what I've been doing."

Yefim shakes his head, wondering what in the world has happened to warrant such a change.

"Do you have work today?" Yefim then asks sarcastically.

"As a matter of fact, I do. I'm supposed to be there in fifteen minutes, the walk takes ten minutes, giving me five to prepare myself and clock in." Christian answers.

"Well then, don't let me get in your way." Yefim replies, stepping aside and letting Christian pass, which he does. As Christian begins on his way, he calls out to him, "Pleasure seeing you again, Christian."

He receives no response.

Christian makes his way down the winding dirt path toward Pustoshka, encountering very little in terms of wildlife or mankind. He reaches the empty town within ten minutes, just as he said. He then enters the market building through the back doors, taking a brief rest. He watches the broken clock out of the corner of his eye, imagining the hands moving, the ticking and tocking of the clock coming to him with each passing second. Two minutes pass. He takes a bottle of water from his locker, drinking a sip. He then places it back, thinking of how todays shift will go. Another minute has passed. He approaches the time card slot, inserting a worn piece of paper that is visually reminiscent of swiss cheese. After a couple seconds, he removes the card and stows it away. His shift has started.

"I just want to live a quiet life." Christian says to himself, beginning to his station, register one.

The morning sun shines in brightly through the shattered windows of the market. The doors are closed, the bell no longer works, the town is as quiet as  graveyard, almost as if everyone is already dead. A slight breeze blows through the gaps that used to be filled with glass, sending a chill into the market. Birds begins to chirp. Christian closes his eye, taking in a slow inhale and letting out a long exhale.

"I just want to live a quiet life."

Edited by isocade
Fixed formatting.

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JAMMIELAD    194

This was actually one of the best, if not the best lore and stories I've read. I was actually wanting more. Keep up the good work bud <3

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Noxious    136

That's lit as, all you must do is keep the content coming and you'll please every reader

Job! :)

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isocade    90

The smell of the wildlife becomes quite apparent. It's almost rancid. Christian finds himself glaring at a cow, grazing in a field quietly. The sun shines brightly down on the field, Christian himself being behind a wooden fence. Despite the gross smell of a barnyard creature, he takes in a deep breath and admires the view. The wind blows gently, just as it did in the market, this time bringing a light chill through Christian's body.

"Uh, hey, Christian? We should get going. We only have so long until the train starts to cross, then we'll be here forever." An American voice says from behind Christian.

He turns to face the holder of the voice, a young looking man with glasses and short brown hair. He's wearing a set of casual clothes, having a blue hooded jacket with a pair of black jeans and black shoes. Behind him is a sedan, Yefim sitting in the driver seat and admiring the view from the window.

Christian turns and begins to the sedan, taking a seat behind the driver seat. The man with the glasses takes a seat in the passenger seat at the front of the car, buckling in. Christian does not buckle in. They drive east along a lone and lonely highway. Various cars and vans pass by them every now and then, roughly five meters ahead is a truck dragging along a trailer. Twenty meters behind is another generic Lada Niva, trudging along slowly. The pine trees and fall colors are more than beautiful, keeping Christian's attention for the time being. Soon enough, they're now going downhill, and a town comes into view.

The man wearing glasses quickly pops open the glove compartment, taking a map out and unfolding it. He studies it briefly, then looking to Yefim.

"We're going to take a right into that town, Vavilovo, it's called. Just follow the road all the way through and we'll eventually hit Vybor, according to the map." He says, playing navigator.

"Are you sure, KC?" Yefim asks, "You've been wrong before."

"It wasn't me, it was the map that was wrong." KC protests, adjusting his glasses like the damn nerd he is.

The sedan takes a right at the next intersection, crossing over a set of railroad tracks. Shortly after they do so, the rail crossing gate begins to lower, lights flashing and bell dinging. They're right on time. The trip through Vavilovo and the subsequent Lopatino is quiet and boring, nothing of importance happens. Christian's eye catches on a female pedestrian who happens to be walking through Lopatino. The woman stands at a roughly average height, having shoulder length light-brown hair and a gentle, smooth feminine face. Her manner of dress is traditional, but classy. In short, she's an attractive woman. Christian dwells on the thought for a few moments, slowly realizing to himself that he's imagined a future with who is practically a complete stranger, a stranger which he knows nothing about.

"Hello?" A voice asks.

A brief slam is heard, Christian opens his eye. To his front stands a man with short brown hair and a big brown beard. He's wearing a black jacket and has a firearm on his back, looking at Christian quizzically. 

"Oh, hello there. Need anything, sir?" Christian asks, attempting to make a smooth recovery from his daydream.

"Uh, no, not in particular. I saw you standing in here and just checked to see if you were fine." The man replies, looking around the room they're currently standing in, "So why a market?"

"I work here."

"You work here?"

"Yes, I work here."

"Oh, uh, okay. Keep up the good work then."

"I'm doing the best I can."

The man then decides that it'd be best to leave rather than stay and talk to the strange Christian. He goes on his way past Pustoshka, going further south. Christian waits roughly a half hour then begins out of the market, beginning on his way home. This is strange. People almost never come through Pustoshka. People always stay away from it, they travel through the woods most of the time, or just go to the airfield, right? This confused him, bewildered him. Things are changing, too many things are different. He went home and closed the door, locking it and trying to calm himself down.

Things are changing.

Edited by isocade
Fixed formatting.

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isocade    90

Christian began to feverishly write down his racing thoughts, just as he had done again and again. He kept this up for many, many minutes. His hands cramped, his fingers hurt, his eyes ran red with irritation. He, however, did not stop writing. He wrote of the day, the infected he saw, the meeting with Yefim, the trip to work, the day at the store, the meeting with the stranger, and finally the trip home.

"Christian, please sit at the table like the rest of us." A woman asks politely. Christian, however, did not stop writing.

His hand kept going and going, dipping up and down, left to right, writing and writing, and writing. His words practically printed out across and down the paper like a computer prints out a document.

"Honey, please." The woman sighs.

"Christian, are you giving your mother a hard time?" A male voice then asks. 

He steps past his mother, now standing at the side of Christian and looking down at the work. It's not even coherent. It's words, brainstormed, spattered across the paper like oil paint thrown against a canvas. None of it made any sense. but he still stared down at it for quite a long moment, taking in the lack of sense that it exuded. He then let out a sigh himself, giving Christian a pat on the back.

"You stressed at something, young man?" He asks.

"Yes, I... This guy at school won't stop bullying me." Christian admits, continuing to write.

"What's he doing to you?"

"He keeps calling me names like Chrissy the sissy and Christ. It really bothers me."

"Well that's not nice of him. What's his name?"

"Jared."

Christian continues to write.

"He's jealous of you, because you have a better name. He's named after a jar with "ed" at the end of it."

"What am I named after?"

"Jesus. Jesus Christ. Christian. That's why he called you Christ, too. He's jealous that you love God."

Christian continues to write.

"Is that really the reason?"

"Yes son, yes it is."

He pats him on the back again. Christian continues to write.

"Your food's gonna get cold, y'know."

"I- I'll be there soon. Thanks Dad."

"Anytime, kiddo, I'll always be there for you."

They, the man and woman, then leave the room.

Christian stops writing.

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isocade    90

Christian takes a deep inhalation of the stale air around him, hands shaking as he stares down at his conglomeration of words and phrases. To him, it makes sense. A simple and easy way to vent frustrations, much better than any other alternatives he knows of, that's for sure.

He steps away from his table, slowly closing the book he typically writes inside. He then puts it away in a slow manner, taking a look out the window afterwards. He can see a group of people in the distance moving quite quickly. They're wearing a mixed set of civilian clothing, some of them carrying firearms while others are carrying tents or large crates. They seem to be watching their surroundings in a panicked manner, as if on the run from something. He watches them as they cross the large field, studying their clothing. One is dressed in a full red suit, presumably a former EMT in the medical field, while another is wearing a cowboy hat and checkered shirt. One man in particular is wearing a bush suit of some sort, carrying a firearm covered in leaves and grass. The others are in a mix of green, brown, and blue clothes. It's quite a strange sight, and unexpected. That's not good.

Christian lets out a sigh, deciding to lay down instead of bother thinking about it. He closes his eye and listens to the nothing.

The sun rises, and falls, and rises, and falls, and rises, and falls again. It rises once more.

Christian rises.

"I change my mind." Christian says, closing and opening his hands slowly.

"That's unlike you, friend." Yefim replies, leaning forward, "Something happen to you?"

"I didn't like how things were turning out."

"Is that it? No one robbed you, tried to kill you?"

"That's it. I like the quiet life, but sometimes I need some adventure."

"You know this... World, the way it is now, it's not an adventure."

Christian folds his hands together, his right thumb rubbing the back of his left hand.

"I've noticed. You speak like I haven't been outside in two years."

"Bandits, murderers, psychopaths, thieves, zombies, you name it and it's out there."

"I've noticed."

"Have you killed anyone yet?"

Christian unfolds his hands, giving no response.

"Christian, have you killed anyone yet?"

"Yes. Yes I have."

"When?"

"Not too long after everything went to hell."

"Only that time?"

Christian folds his hand back together, this time his left thumb is rubbing the back of his right hand.

"No. Last week, too."

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isocade    90

"Why'd you do it?" Yefim asks, leaning back, as if he were relaxed by the answer.

"He tried to steal from me." Christian answers, "The house."

"He tried to steal the house from you?"

"No. He tried to steal from the house."

"How'd you handle it? You've never been one for violence."

"I'd rather not talk about it."

"Really? With all the immoral shit we've done, killing in self defense is too much for you?"

"It's not too much, I'd rather not talk about it is all."

"You're something else, Christian."

His father used to say this.

"I don't like it when people are interruptive."

"That what the guy did? Interrupt your "vacation" or something?"

"Yes, with his boot to my door."

"So you're ready to talk about it all of a sudden."

Christian shakes his head.

Yefim had been gone for about two days. Christian had not been to work since his visit. He stares up at the ceiling, studying the detail in the wood, something he never considered noticing before. His pleasant silence is interrupted by a loud bang on his front door. Christian springs up to his feet, face quickly turning pale. He doesn't typically have a firearm in the house, he's never had a use for one. He hears another bang. It's clear to him this person has no intention of entering peacefully. It could be Yefim, looking to tie up loose ends. It could be a bandit too, or a murderer, or psychopath. It could be the end for him.

He waited, shaking. There is a third and final bang, followed by a thump. The door is open. Chernarussian can be heard being spoken, it sounds authoritative and gruff. One set of footsteps move into the house, slowly moving across the hardwood floor. Though only one can be heard, someone might be waiting outside. Christian risks it, opening up the bedroom door. A man is on the other side in the center of the kitchen holding a Russian rifle, an AK of some sort. He's wearing a dark jacket with brown pants, and a dented helmet. His face however, is unprotected and open to see. An angular, masculine face with an almost predatory look around the eyes and cheekbones. His eyebrows are dark and so are his eyes, his face lacks any facial hair however. His expression looks tense, but upon meeting Christian's eye, he pauses, blinks, then narrows his brow.

Christian had seen him before.

"Christian?"

"Igor."

"What are you doing here?"

"I've been here for a while. What are you doing here?"

"I thought no one was in here anymore, I didn't know this was yours."

"Most people don't know I'm around here, I'd prefer it stay that way."

"Of course my friend, that is no problem to me."

Christian glares at him silently with his one eye, studying Igor up to down.

"Why'd you want to break into a stranger's home and steal?"

"Believe it or not but... I'm desperate for food. Hunting isn't turning up anything good for me and the crops aren't well."

Christian nods in an understanding manner, gesturing to the kitchen table.

"You came all this way, I'll make you something."

"Are- Are you serious?"

"Yes."

"Aye, dekuji, my friend."

Igor places his AK rifle aside of the table. It's worn and weathered, having clearly seen better days. He then removes his battered helmet, placing it on the table to the left of his hands. Igor takes in a deep breath, relaxing for the first time in what seems like days.

Christian opens a cupboard over the sink, reaching up and pulling out a large can of chicken breast contained in water, weighing about twelve ounces. The label on it is worn off from years of sitting idle. He places the can on the counter, taking a small plate from a drawer which he has probably washed multiple times over by hand, then placing this small plate on the counter next to the can. He closes the cupboard and drawer, then moving to a small rack next to the sink which contains multiple knives and other utensils. He takes a simple kitchen steak knife, then a simple fork which has seen better days. He uses the knife to open the can, then uses the fork to empty the contents into the plate. Finally, Christian uses the knife and fork together in his right and left hands respectively to cut the chicken into small, easy to eat pieces, just the way he prefers.

"Igor, are you religious at all?"

"Catholic, my friend, why do you ask?"

"I'd like to pray for you, if you don't mind, before you eat. For safe travels."

"That's kind of you, thank you, Christian."

Christian brings the plate and fork to Igor, setting them aside. He places his left hand on Igor's left shoulder, standing behind him at an angle.

They both perform the Sign of the Cross.

"Bless us, Lord, and these, thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord."

"Amen." Igor performs the Sign of the Cross.

He feels something cold and sharp against his throat.

"Amen."

Edited by isocade

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isocade    90

"My fellow Kingdom followers, today we held a moment of silence... for the great King Joffrey has near fallen from an assassination attempt." The radio broadcasts in an alert tone. "Stabbed five or more times, and his guts spilling out... he is in coma, and will likely never recover. until such time, that he is healed, he has named me: Cecil Nagante, as Royal Consolate in his stead."

Yefim shakes his head, turning down the volume on the radio to a near mute, then turning back to Christian.

"Could you at least tell me his name, if you got one that is?"

"Didn't get a name."

"That's a shame. Hope you gave him a proper burial."

"Can't risk a burial with the way these zombies roam around. Burned the remains and put up a marked site."

Yefim nods his head in an understanding manner. Considering various questions to ask Christian, one of which comes up.

"You get anything good from him?"

"A handful of food. The clothing didn't fit, and you know I'm not a fan of firearms. I gave the rest to a passerby on my way to work."

"How is work going, anyway?"

"It's quiet. Calm. Peaceful."

"People don't come by very often, do they?"

"No, not usually. When they do, they're very clearly American."

"How do you tell? Their accents?"

"No. They're very loud, and make sure you know they're there."

"Quite the opposite of you."

"I was brought up well."

Yefim chuckles, shaking his head lightly.

"Wait!" Igor quickly stammers out, tensing up.

Christian keeps the steak knife held where it is, using his boot to kick the Kalashnikov further out of reach.

"What is it?" He then asks.

"I-... What are you doing? Why?"

"I'm sorry Igor. I know how you found this house. I told Yefim I'm not going back into the business."

"You don't have to kill me in retaliation!"

"If I don't, then he won't take me seriously."

"This- This is insane! After everything we've been through, you're going to just kill me?"

"You know me, Igor. I don't need to repeat myself."

"Yefim will find out, and you'll be done for."

Christian doesn't respond.

Igor was not seen again.

Yefim turns the radio back up, listening to the transmissions being sent back and forth.

"Mark my words; King Joffrey will return. All hail King Joffrey..."

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isocade    90
Posted (edited)

"Well you said you wanted to get back into the business, so let's hurry it up. Let's go tie up some loose ends." Yefim said, rising up from his chair.

Christian rose up as well.

They then both set out, moving northeast. They continued moving until they came to a massive road, which led ahead to a city, it seemed. The air was crisp with the feeling of isolation and the surroundings were noisy with the abundance of nature, birds chirping and flying about. The scene was peaceful, if alone, at the least. It was a long walk, with not much to see along the way. The trees and grass were as green and overgrown as ever, some sections having been hacked away or shaved down, or trampled over, or driven over. The nerve of some people, even in the end of the world, mankind still finds ways to destroy nature.

They continued and continued along the way until they came to the city of Severograd. The area was quiet, the ambiance dreary, and the general tone was uncomfortable. They pass by the police station, headed toward the direction of the hospital- Then they hear a handful of gunshots. Yefim and Christian get low, ducking into a nearby building. They observe with their ears, listening quietly to the pops and bangs of the bullets and rounds. Infected let out their feral yells, haphazardly breaking off toward the commotion. Yefim breaks off, leaving through the back door. Christian moves over slightly, curiously poking his head out the door he ducked through, watching down the road. He sees nothing but infected moving toward the far side of the city, to the school.

A vehicle can be heard starting up, popping and chugging before dying back down. This happens multiple times over until a final bang is heard, like an exhaust being blown through. The whirring, grinding engine becomes much louder, a hefty diesel truck turtling through the Severograd streets from the direction of the school, before taking a harsh right and zipping up the road to the north. It moves further and further before vanishing into the woods near a large quarry. The sound can be heard drifting away more and more, buzzing away in the distance. The infected chase right after it, hooting and hollering, screeching and clawing, like a bunch of feral elementary children being released into a cafeteria. Absolute mayhem.

Christian continues to watch down the road leading toward the school, or rather a lone figure creeping along the truss bridge that links north and south Severograd. He's wearing a set of red clothes, and has a white bandana looking skullcap and white respirator covering his mouth. On his face is a set of glasses. Although he lacks a backpack, he has a set of pouches dangling off him, connected to what looks like some kind of simple rope harness. Christian observes him a bit longer, squinting his one eye to get a better look. He then looks behind him, through the hall that he and Yefim had situated themselves in. Yefim has not yet returned.

He looks back, noticing that the red suited man is slowly crawling along, obviously being cautious and blissfully ignorant that he's being watched. Christian pats himself down, feeling the industrial shape in his jacket. He drops his hand back down, waiting patiently. The man continues to crawl. Christian checks behind him. Yefim has not yet returned. Christian shifts his feet slightly, feeling the soles loosen a tad.

A lone figure in a dark coat rapidly approaches the man in red from behind. He reaches into his jacket as he approaches. 

Christian rises up a stand. 

The man in red clothing turns. He has a gun.

The lone figure drops down and two gunshots are heard- one from each man.

The infected turn their heads.

Yefim has not yet returned.

The man in the dark jacket brings up his left hand toward the sky, in the shape of a fist.

Christian bolts out from the building, rapidly drawing his own handgun, a small Makarov PM. He rushes to the bridge, aiming at the man in red, who writhes in pain.

"Quickly, move him!" Yefim calls, being the man in the dark jacket.

He was right, infected were on their way to investigate the noise, they didn't like how their nice quiet day was ruined twice so far, dinner having escaped in a tin can and someone shooting a gun in their neighborhood. Assuredly they'd call the police if such a thing still existed. Christian tucks his handgun away, taking the man in red under the arms and dragging him away as quick as he could. They cross the bridge, taking cover inside a large white house that contains a piano and has three exits.

Yefim hurriedly shuts all the doors, barricading the one they went through. Christian plops the red suited man against a cabinet, where he sits and writhes and groans and whines.

"Long time no see, KC."

Edited by isocade
Grammatical errors

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isocade    90

The man in red, KC, his eyes beneath his glasses widened considerably. Yefim keeps himself occupied with blockading the remaining doors. The shrieks and calls of the infected can be heard on the other side, slapping their limbs and bodies into the doors. Christian leans in close.

"We're coming back, KC."

"Coming back? What do you mean coming back?"

Yefim tips over a cabinet, letting it drop loudly against the tile floor. He slides it into the entrance hall, blocking a door.

"Our business. It's coming back. That means you are too."

"I can't do that, I left it behind for a reason!" KC replies, keeping his arms tucked in over his abdomen.

Yefim takes a metal shelf, dragging it to the final door and blocking it by placing the shelf sideways over the door itself.

"So did I. I still came back." Christian states, rising up.

Christian rears back his right leg, KC curling up and pleading out. Christian merely places his right foot down where he brought his leg back, stepping around to face Yefim. Yefim wipes his forehead, taking a few deep breaths. He looks at KC, then Christian, then back to KC.

"KC, my friend, my brother in arms, you know how vile the world is out there. We can make it a better place, all you have to do is just cooperate with us." Yefim begins, trying to reason with the individual.

KC however, interrupts him.

"The business we did was vile, it was corrupt, we hurt more people than we helped and you know that!"

KC lets out a groan, looking down at himself where he sits, slumped against the wall. He looks back up, pushing his glasses up with his thumb.

"It was corrupt because the people we worked for made it corrupt. Our skill set is better than most of those amateurs out there. The people here who gave our work a bad name got shut down, they fell from power. We can dominate the market again, we can put a good name to what we do again."

"I can't believe you call human trafficking good."

KC lets out a choked cough, running his left hand across his abdomen and grasping at what seems to be bothering him, which was a gunshot. It bled nicely, the liquid being almost hidden against his own red clothing, becoming more visible once it leaks onto the tile floor below.

"I never said we'd transport humans." Yefim retorts.

Christian steps over, leaning over and looking down at KC rather than kneeling to his level.

“You know what happens to people out here. I don't want that to happen to you.” He says, keeping his tone low.

“Keeping myself associated with you is more dangerous and life threatening than that.”

“Staying away from us got you shot just a few minutes ago, didn't it?”

KC fidgets uncomfortably, he takes in a deep breath.

“And you think staying around with you will get me shot less?”

“You'd have much more reliable people than those "survivors" you're running with right now.”

“Don't bring them into this, Christian.”

“I've already made up my mind.”

KC glares up at Christian, who smiles down at him in a smug manner. KC shakes his head, Christian then stands up straight, looking to Yefim and then back to KC. Yefim begins over to one of the barricaded doors, removing the objects that block it. He opens it up carefully, checking the outside.

Christian kneels down to KC, holding up a single index finger.

“One week.”

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isocade    90
Posted (edited)

The sun rises over the horizon as it does every day. The shadows of the woods, the foliage, the derelict buildings, telephone poles, rocks and infected cast out far across the land, the stretch of their extent shrinking more and more as the sun goes further up and up. Christian, much like the sun, rises up and goes through his typical morning routine as if nothing had happened. His eye lingers on the rifle stowed between the refrigerator and the counter, only for a brief moment. He looks away, taking a seat at his desk and calmly feasting on his breakfast, studying the outside through the safety and comfort of the windows.

An idea comes to his mind.

Christian looks down at his desk, organizing the papers until he finds a blank one. He takes a pencil from the top of the desk, gently pressing the tip of it against the page and beginning to write. After a few moments, he takes a deep breath and closes his eye.

Christian looks up from where he sits, looking his friend in the eyes with his own two.

"You ready to head out or what?" His friend asks of him.

"Absolutely, I'm starving."

"Out we go then."

Christian rises up from his couch, moving toward the front door with his friend.

"I'll be back later tonight, Dad!" Christian calls out across the house.

"Stay safe kiddo, I love you!" Dad responds.

The two leave the house. They climb into the car. A red 1997 Dodge Neon. American engineering at its finest. It starts right up. Christian is in the passenger seat. His friend is in the driver seat. They begin to drive away.

"You think he took it seriously?" Yefim asks, adjusting his stance and tilting his head at Christian.

“He’d be stupid not to.” Christian responds.

“Let’s just hope this goes over smoothly.” Yefim replies.

The two set out through the woods. It’s evening. The sun glares through the trees and foliage, creating shadows and shapes like those seen in photogenic documentaries of nature. The sky is clear of clouds and smoke, a very faint breeze pushing through the air and giving the world a subtle feeling of being… Normal. They step over a pair of logs, up ahead is a set of tents, looking worn and disheveled. They approach the tents.

“Abandoned.”

“So far.”

“Think it’s a trap?”

“Could be. Watch for anything suspicious.”

Silence.

“Nothing here. No one here. This isn’t their camp.”

“What makes you say that, aside from the lack of supplies?”

“No blood, bodies, shell casings. Certainly wasn’t wolves.”

The two exchange glances for just a moment. Christian looks out toward the direction of a distant road. He leads the way.

Crossing the road forces them to confront a chain link fence. They follow alongside it until they find a break in the chains, quietly slipping through. Voices can be heard.

“...join up for this, Connor. You told us we’re in this together.”

Christian and Yefim hit the deck. The grass, rather. They take a more subtle approach, slowly going over the top of the hill to their front and watching the scene before them. A lake, surrounded by rocks. A man is on his knees at the edge of a rock that hangs over the lake, with one man at his side and another behind him. The man at his side is knelt down next to him, holding him by the shoulder with one hand. The man behind him is aiming a revolver at the man of his head.

Two more man stand a few meters away from the rock, on the grass and dirt. One is wearing a red outfit and aiming a double barrel shotgun at the group on the rocks, while another man wearing a bush suit and holding a hunting rifle stands a meter behind him, aiming the hunting rifle at him. This is generally referred to as a “Mexican Standoff”. A second group of people armed with rifles and wearing orange armbands resides up on the far side of the lake, merely just watching with their rifles out- The rifles appear to be military rather than civilian.

“You told us Clint sent you as a dying wish. Well guess what Connor? Clint isn’t dead! What does that make you?” Yells out the man aiming the revolver, pressing the barrel into the back of the kneeling man’s head. He’s putting on a show, in a way.

“I didn’t know Clint wasn’t dead, okay?! Just- Just calm down, we don’t have to do this, Joseph, someone, talk these guys out of it! This is insane!” Replies the kneeling man, who is apparently Connor.

“I asked you a question, Connor!”

“I- I didn’t know he was-”

The gun barrel bumps into Connor's head a bit harder.

“I asked you a goddamn question, Connor, what does that make you?”

“It makes me just the same as I was before, the leader! I’m not going to abandon you guys or let you down because Clint’s alive, I’ve proven myself capable!”

“No Connor, you already did let us down. You’re a liar, Connor, it makes you a liar. You know what rule you said is put in if people lied.”

There is a loud gunshot.

Connor falls.

The man in red lowers his gun.

The bush man lowers his gun.

The two on the rocks lower their guns.

"I know what you're thinking Christian."

"Are you going to stop me?"

Edited by isocade
Format errors.

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